A stormy day before the snow
Rain and the gales of autumn
scour birch leaves from branches
scatter them across the garden’s remains
the poppies and forget-me-nots ready for sleep.
willow tosses above the cobbled margin
of the tide line. salt spray and sand
etch panes trembling in weathered frames.
stove ash circulates suspended in damp
drafts born of the buffeting storm
and settles in my cooling coffee
as I drink it in.
a couple cords yet to split and stack against
snows soon to descend, but time now
just to sit and sip coffee, just to
listen to the planet roaring, listen
to the quiet heart grateful
for the full cellar and a well banked fire, for
enough to last the winter, enough
to want for nothing more.
Loving between darkness and light
3 a.m. and waiting
for your shift to end
for you to come home and
slip from your uniform then
slide into bed
your smile in greeting
a soft click and vanishing
sliver of light behind you
four arms filling
with one another
moist the night
luxurious and long
we move within it
between darkness and light
the way I move in
and out of you
Some time before sunset
All morning I have walked the banks
Of the salt marsh welcoming the lamentations
In a quiet way, sotto voce greetings
To testaments of another autumn turning
From swan feathers to early October snow.
Days hence will find them farther south.
These aromatic waters will skin over
With a burgeoning patina of ice and
Silence will prepare the whole of us
For the advent of darkness that endures
Until March. Welcome too will be that silence
And its dark partner backlighting aurora borealis.
Winter is a season to reflect upon the generations
Of trumpeter swans these brush-lined banks have known,
Of the seasons comprising this generation that knows me.
Yesterday is but an imagination,
An imperfect memory, and tomorrow never comes.
There is only this frosty morning and these rarities
Replenishing their strength for further journeys. There is
My regard of all this before me and a fervent desire to endure the dark
Swans, when they have hard luck in the fall time… they can just go right through the sky to heaven without dying. Swans are the only big animals that God made that can go to heaven without dying.”
– Charlie Yahey, Dunne-za Dreamer
one cob less this April
perhaps an accident northward
some stalking misfortune
a contrary wind
three and a half pair
nicker at new shoots, await
the odd pen frets at stubble
in the long rays of darkening red sunset
how brilliant her plumage!
how supple her long white neck
inclined to the horizon opposite
toward a more delicate shift of light
it has taken an entire heart
to fashion this tiny craft
folded most carefully
at one time or another every facet
laid open for your survey
kneeling in preparation
for voyage to a place in you
that may not still exist
off uncertain wind and in
a mutable ebbing and flow
I launch fragile and buoyant hope
bound for a harbor I was sure once to enter
guided by a sincerity you once uttered
toward one who might
Michael Queen was born in Juneau, Alaska Territory from a father of Clan MacQueen lineage and a mother of Clans Campbell and Wallace. A retired Firefighter, he is studying for a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing-Poetry. His work has appeared in Karmic Runes, Silver Vain, and Ice-Floe.